Before There Were Antibiotics, There Was Silver

Clinical Applications of Bioactive Forms of Silver Hydrosol

A review of the safety, efficacy, and practice implications for healthcare professionals

Authors:        Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO Karolyn A. Gazella

Before there were antibiotics, there was silver

The antimicrobial and wound healing effects of silver have been embraced for more than 2,000 years.

Silver has a rich history of being used by ancient civilizations, on the Civil War and World War I battlefields, and even by NASA.

Just as with the early use of herbal medicines, silver was used in various medical applications. Colloidal silver in particular has a 125+ year history of use in North America.

Medicinal use of silver declined after the introduction of antibiotics in the early 1940s, yet silver was reintroduced in medicine for topical applications in the late 1960s. Silver’s use is still prominent in wound healing in the form of topical creams and dressings, particularly for severe burns.

Silver has come a long way since ancient times.

As a testament to silver’s popular historical use and present-day research, there are many colloidal silver products on the market.

Unfortunately, some of these products contain salts, proteins, stabilizers, or other compounds that can negatively impact silver’s efficacy and safety. Research shows that there is a direct link between such impurities and toxicity.

There is a form of silver that is reliably safe and effective. Highly bioactive silver hydrosol, made using a proprietary manufacturing process, is available to healthcare professionals as a dietary supplement.

Here are some distinguishing factors about this bioactive silver hydrosol:

  • It is actively charged, containing >98% bioactive silver ions and nanoclusters, which are the smallest forms of silver particles.
  • The smaller particle size of 0.8 nanometers allows for better absorption and elimination. Note: Always look for third party verification of particle size.
  • It only has 2 ingredients: 99.999% pure silver and pharmaceutical-grade purified water.
  • It is vegan and does not contain allergens, gluten, GMOs, or added salts, proteins, stabilizers, or other compounds that can disrupt the purity and efficacy of the silver.
  • It is a clear liquid, indicating the complete dispersion of nanoclusters and silver ions in the solution.

Bioavailability and purity are critical factors when it comes to delivering successful clinical outcomes with silver products.

Key Clinical Applications

Much of the research on colloidal silver and forms of silver, such as a bioactive silver hydrosol, are in vitro and in vivo. More human clinical trials are needed.

There are three main clinical applications of bioactive silver hydrosol:

  1. Antimicrobial
  2. Broad spectrum immune and inflammatory modulation
  3. Wound healing and tissue regeneration

The antimicrobial properties of silver ions are well known. Research demonstrates that there is a dose-dependent antimicrobial effect against several microbes including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli (E. coli). According to a 2016 review published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, silver nanoparticles have been proven “effective against over 650 microorganisms including bacteria (both Gram-positive and negative), fungi, and viruses.”

The authors of a 2008 paper published in the Digest Journal of Nanomaterials and Biostructures point out that silver nanoparticles act as a catalyst that disables a respiratory enzyme used by many bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The authors explain the silver nanoparticles cause them to “suffocate without corresponding harm occurring to human enzymes or parts of the human body chemistry.”

In addition to directly killing organisms, in vitro studies have demonstrated that silver nanoparticles may induce cytotoxicity and a localized inflammatory response. According to a 2016 review published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, this inflammatory effect is associated, in large part, with the local generation of free radicals and ensuing mitochondrial respiration in response to free radical hyperoxidation.

While localized immune response is stimulated through limited inflammation, silver nanoparticles were found “effective at decreasing inflammation in peritoneal adhesions without significant toxic effects,” as shown by Wong and colleagues in a 2009 in vivo study. This is in keeping with its role in supporting proper wound healing.

In vivo studies demonstrated that topical delivery of silver nanoparticles helped promote wound healing and tissue regeneration. A 2007 study published in the journal ChemMedChem found that silver nanoparticles produced “rapid healing and improved cosmetic appearance.” This conclusion is consistent with a 2010 in vivo study published in ChemMedChem where the researchers found that silver nanoparticles increased the rate of wound closure via “the promotion of proliferation and migration of keratinocytes.” The researchers also noted that the silver nanoparticles influenced the “differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts, thereby promoting wound contraction.”

In addition to these well-known applications of silver nanoparticles, recent research has looked at the connection between silver and the gut microbiome.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll talk more about:

  • The gut microbiome,
  • Topical applications, and
  • Safety and dosage.

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